"It's who's the fittest and who's the fastest" - five brothers inspire Kilcoo to Ulster glory 2 years ago

"It's who's the fittest and who's the fastest" - five brothers inspire Kilcoo to Ulster glory

Kilcoo is a GAA romanticists dream.

There'll be songs written about the place yet.


After their Ulster semi-final win over Derrygonnelly Harps, wing back Aaron Branagan endeared the little county Down parish to the whole country.

"There's nothing else to do in Kilcoo except for the football...

"You go to Mass, have a few sheep and that's really it," he said of Kilcoo.

Farming the land and living for the national game. It's a simple life in Kilcoo, and they make them hardy in these parts.

They've won a lot and suffered plenty. But there was one nagging blank that they needed to get out of the system. Kilcoo had never won Ulster before.


Seven county titles in eight years. Quarter finals every year, semis most years and two finals. They'd threatened but failed to get over the line.

This year was different. Mickey Moran made sure it was. And this close-knit band of brothers worked harder than they ever did before.


Moran has an unparalleled record at this level and he worked the oracle again. But he wouldn't have been able to do it without a willing, honest bunch and that's exactly what he has in Kilcoo.

"You don't realise the work that's gone in for this here," said man-of-the-match Darryl Branagan, after their entertaining win over Naomh Conaill of Donegal.

"I can't thank Mickey enough," he said on TG4.

"You don't realise how good that man is. Everybody going full-tilt every night, the competition for places is unbelievable..."


"I feel bad starting here, there's lads who didn't even make the panel today who deserve this as much as I do..."

Think of all the great club teams and the majority of them have siblings involved. The GAA is a family game and some families are steeped in it. Think the Reids and Fennellys of Ballhale, the seven Burke brothers on the St Thomas' team.

In Kilcoo, Branagan is the name. Five brothers in Eugene, Darryl, Aidan, Aaron and Niall are on the starting team.

"It's good old competition within the house, when you go to training, it's who's the fittest and who's the fastest...It helps push everybody on. At training, I'd be more nervous about a fitness test about where you'd rank in the house as opposed to coming out to play in an Ulster final today...but it's healthy competition..."


Exceptional stuff.